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GP Week : Issue 64
PIRELLI STAR DRIVER SE ESTONIAN driver Ott Tanak and Alex Raschi from San Marino have won the Pirelli Star Driver awards at the European zone Shoot-Out held at Freistadt, Austria. Seventeen drivers were selected to take part, Tanak after having already survived a preliminary elimination process at the recent Neste Oil Rally Finland. The selection was based on a mini rally featuring six stages, three times round an asphalt section and then three times round a course on gravel. The principal judges were Markku Alen and Petter Solberg. Solberg explained that their main criteria in selecting which two drivers would drive Pirelli sponsored cars on six rounds of the 2010 world series was to study the driving skills and, mainly, the driver's ability to make and then trust their pacenotes. Still 21 years old, Tanak is current Estonian champion as was his father before him. Since the start of 2008 he has been a protege of Markko Martin, a relationship which brought him rally victories. He explained that Martin has helped him immensely, not only in teaching him successful driving skills but helping him develop the necessary mental skills as well. His first objective is to retain his national title, but the Shoot-Out clashed with a qualifying event back hone, which has dropped him to second place one point behind the current leader. He has one more event to go, and that will be on home ground. His speed on the special stages in Austria was impressive. At the wheel of a Subaru Impreza N14 he won the rally by almost a half minute, winning five of the six stages. 22 year-old Alex Raschi drove a Clio R3 and had a close battle during the day with fellow Renault driver Andrea Torlasco who finally beat him by 0.4 second!. He shot to international prominence when he won his class and finished the highest placed two wheel drive car on the 2008 Swedish Rally. In Italy he won the gravel championship category for 2wd and for Group R cars for two years running. Tanak and Raschi are Europe's PSD winners 34